Saturday, January 11, 2014

Needing Less and Missing Nothing

This is a quote from John Scherber,  an author living in San Miguel.  He's a prolific writer with many published books.  This quote came from an article he wrote for a publication.  Before I forget,  John has a new book out, "Into the Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find Themselves Off the Beaten Path".  It's about those ex-pats who choose to live where few other ex-pats go.  I know it will be an interesting read.
John has offered to write a guest blog for Babsblog and I look forward, eagerly, to his ruminations and writings.

But, back to the quote.  It has resonated with me since I read it.  That one sentence really is a statement about those of us who have found solace in living in this country, without the need for consumerism.

It's kind of ironic that I write this blog today after having just written about the new mixed use development going up north of Queretaro in Juriquilla.  However, chances are I'll go once to see the development and most likely not return.  I'm definitely NOT a shopper, except for necessities.

It strikes me each time I return to the USA.  I see things that either I've never heard of or seen before or things I just haven't thought about in a long time.  I see many, many things that are not available in Mexico or if they are, I have no idea where I would find them.

Whereas the USA is dependent on consumerism for their economy, I doubt, but could be wrong, that Mexico is not.  Rather, Mexico exports a lot to other countries, not only the USA.  Of course, the USA exports too.  I see the lines and lines of 18 wheelers at the International Bridge each time I cross the border.
But, this post isn't really about import and export.  It's more about contentment and compromise.

"Needing less" is amazing to me.  Since I have lived for thirteen years with only one closet (and the storage space under my bed), I've learned that I certainly need fewer clothes.

Since I have a tiny kitchen and only one cabinet for storing foodstuffs, I've learned that I don't need to have a closet as a pantry.

I've learned that I can find books at garage sales or mostly in exchanges with friends for free. And, of course, the clothes I need are purchased mostly at the tianguis.

It's kind of part of the adventure of living in a foreign country.  To figure out what you HAVE TO HAVE, which isn't as much for sure, and then figure out where to find it. 

However, here is the burning question of the day.  And, yes, I admit it. I'm missing cool whip. "Is it possible to find cool whip anywhere in Mexico?"  I have a zillion recipes that call for it, but, no cool whip.  See, life is so simple here!  Right now, the only thing I can think of that I'm missing is cool whip...........ha.


Cheryl said...

Love this post and I couldn't agree more. Why don't you make your own whipped cream? Is whipping cream available?

Brenda Maas said...

Cool Whip = Gross
You could use the Mexican equivalent of Cool Whip which is sold in the coolers where the butter/margarine/yogurt is called Chantilly (crema batida vegetal)and is in a container like yogurt.
They also have it in powder form like the powdered Cool Whip that you used to be able to buy.
Personally if I want whipped cream in some confection I buy whipping cream and make real whipped cream. I prefer not to use the fake crap unless I have to. Crema para batir is whipping cream.

Brenda Maas said...

Now you need to find something else that you are missing lol

Babs said...

Cool whip is lower calories then whipping cream, I think. I'm going to check it out on the internet! Thanks Cheryl and Brenda.

Brenda, when I want whip cream on top of something, I want real whip cream, but when something is an ingredient in a recipe, to me it makes no difference, except in caloric content. Thanks for the info on Chantilly.....I never looked at that!
You're right Brenda, now I have nothing else to miss!

Tancho said...

Shame on you, you live in the land of stellar fresh food, affordable dairy, fruits and vegetables weeks fresher than in the US and you worry about a few calories that you would enjoy once in awhile.
You should look at it as a treat and saving 100 or 200 calories, in lieu of chemical created no neutrinent phony Cool Whip does nothing other than fill you with chemicals, just look at it that you would' teat phony meat or plastic fish, so enjoy what you have and can afford and let the poor NOB eat all the bad stuff.......
Sorry for the soapbox rant. I have just sent too many people get probmels from the diets laced with chemicals.

Brenda Maas said...

Babs, sorry but I have to disagree with you. The flavour of Cool Whip compared to the flavour of real whipped cream even in a recipe is like comparing apples to oranges, no where near the same. That is just my opinion, it is your tummy lol.
On this one I have to agree totally with Tancho.
Not wanting to hurt your feelings; it is just how I feel. Too many preservatives, additives, dyes, etc.= very bad, to me anyway.

Babs said...

Brenda and Tancho - Thanks for your opinions and comments. However, after getting the info from Brenda and Cheryl's comment, I went online and found a recipe for cool whip. One of the major differences between it and whip cream is using skim milk or dried powder milk to make it. The rest of the ingredients are stand items, no chemicals. I think I"ll make some up to see what it is like just for the heck of it. I'll let you know after I do so....

Billie Mercer said...

One year at Christmas Time I couldn't find whipping cream and had to buy a can of coolwhip. I found it at Espinos. Don't know if they ever had it again or not because I haven't looked for it. I always use the whipping cream.

Billie Mercer said...

You know I just realized that we are all getting caught up in the whipping cream. The subject was really about living with less and being just as happy. I agree with you. From a consumer standpoint, I certainly live a simplier life here than if I were in the USA.

For a long time, I've had a lust list. If I want some camera equipment I put it on the list. If it stays at the top of the list for months then I might buy it. It has taught me that if I don't buy just because I see something I like at that instant, in a little while I won't feel the same urge to buy it.

Anonymous said...

Cool Whip is nothing more than sugar, wax, and condom lube.

Come to your senses, Babs, and listen to Tancho.

Babs said...

Billie, You ARE so right, cool whip took over the post! I guess after Jennifer's comment I'll have to post the recipe I found on the internet for making cool whip. I think it is a "poor man's" whip cream as it uses dry powdered milk, which was part of commodity goods in the olden days - like in the 60's. Yes, I know that from experience.
I agree with you about wanting something and then, after a while, its not really necessary!

Babs said...

And, so, here it goes: Recipe for making coolwhip:
1t. gelatin, unflavored
2t. cold water
3T. boiling water
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
4T. sugar
3T. oil
2t. vanilla
Chill small bowl. Soften gelatin w/2t. cold water, then add boiling water. Stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool until tepid.
Place ice water and dry milk powder in chilled bowl. Beat @ high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks, add sugar and vanilla, still beating then add oil and gelatin. Place in freezer about 15 minutes then transfer to refrigerator in covered bowl. Stir just before using to retain creamy texture.
I don't see any chemicals or other mentioned unpleasant items in this recipe. Comments?

Babs said...

Jennifer, the site address you provided was not possible to open to read. Thanks though.

Tancho said...

From Answers Wiki:

Polysorbate 60 (used to make sexual lubricants), Sorbitan Monostearate (used in hand cremes to treat dry skin) Hydrogenated Oils (contains hydrogen) High Fructose Corn Syrup (corn syrup with added fructose) and more.
Cool Whip is basically two chemicals away from being the container it's in... the only ingredients in cool whip that are not chemicals are water and xantham gum.

Brenda Maas said...

Babs,sorry if I helped hijack your post about missing things. I honestly don't miss too much anymore either; but then I am not big on shopping either. I used to have a wish list of food items; but now most of them are available in the tourist town of San Carlos for a price. If I get a real craving for something I will go and pay their price for it once in a while. For other things that are higher priced here we just buy them as we need them as it is still cheaper than making a trip NOB to buy it and a lot less hassle.
I could open that link for Cool Whip and believe me you don't want to read it, even worse than I thought lol.
The recipe you posted would be better than Cool Whip for sure; although it will still not have the flavour lol.
Actually you can put unflavoured gelatin into real whipping cream when you make it to stabilize it also, so it doesn't get runny. I have never done it myself, have never felt the need.

Steve Cotton said...

Let me move back to contentment. I am amazed at how content I am with the life I lead in Mexico. Of course, I have a lot of life outside of Mexico, but the part I live in Melaque always centers me. I suspect one reason I can appreciate doing with less here is my age. With age comes wisdom. But it also comes with fewer desires and an improved ability to appreciate everything around us. Maybe that contentment is merely our head getting us ready for the very small space our bodies will eventually occupy in the earth. Until then, though, I am going to enjoy myself each day.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's the point to moving to a foreign country: to learn to live another way, with different modalities. I quote the front page of your blog: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing". - Helen Keller

And Cool Whip?!? Seriously?!? Why not just make *REAL* whipped cream with sugar and vanilla, and you'll have something even better. If you're worried about calories, just skip dessert.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where I seem to find myself on the "right" side of the Cool Whip debate, LOL.

Anonymous said...

OK, now that I've gotten to the end of the comments, I have another comment.

To make "Cool Whip:" See Barbara's recipe, which looks like it would take at least half an hour, plus time for the gelatin to cool.

To make whipped cream: Beat cream with mixer on high for about five minutes. Ready immediately.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where it's more than sheer laziness that would keep me from making "cool whip," but that would be sufficient by itself.

Life's a Beach! said...

Cool Whip, Schmool Whip! If Babs wants Cool Whip, let her have it!
I commend you on needing less! (I personally use the stuff that comes out of the can, but I don't know how that would translate to those recipes.)

Babs said...

Yes, Beck, you GOT the point of wanting the cool whip! The recipes do not call for whip cream, but cool whip. Geez, I can't believe that one sentence sent so many people off in a direction that was never anticipated. It was supposed to be about needing less and missing nothing....other then cool whip for these recipes.......sorry now I even mentioned it!

Babs said...

Thanks Steve, contentment is truly a wonderful state of life to be in now. I think it's a bit of our age, but more then that, it's the lessons from our Mexican neighbors. They take care of their cars, but it's a means of transportation. Not to impress. Their clothes are clean and neat, but not the latest styles, if that matters (and it doesn't). Their meals, for the most part, are for nourishment and not extravagant or eaten out in restaurants to the degree that we eat out. Those observations seem to temper my life and I'm better for it.

Babs said...

And, I'll say it again. Kim, the recipes call for cool whip as an ingredient, not whip cream.

Sharon said...


I'm glad to read that you are living well with one closet. That's my goal. I was a bit concerned when I read in another Mexico blog that SMA is a center for fashionable expats with unlimited wardrobes!

Is there some way to contact you through email without making your address public?

Sharon in Boston

Ron Stephens said...

After reading all of this, I have to come down on the side (the right side, of course)of making REAL whipped cream. It's way easier, way better tasting, and the #1 reason...why not? So what if we'll need a slightly larger box in the ground, that'll be someone else's problem.

Dean Wylo said...

Oh for gosh sake's - get off the Cool Whip bandwagon. We all eat/drink/do things from time to time that aren't particularly good for us. As long as it's not a way of life - enjoy!

Babs I like this quote and have recently - in preliminary preparation for my move to Mexico - culled my closets. I recently read an article where a woman said she down-sized closets for her entire family and only kept clothes for each that would fit in a carry-on bag. Everything goes with everything else and it turns out it is more than adequate - she just does laundry more often.

A light bulb went off for me when I read that. What do I really wear out of what I have? So I gave Goodwill 8 large black trash bags of fabulous clothes - most I was keeping (for years!) just because they were fabulous! Not because I was wearing them.

I am yet down to a carry-on, but I am down to 3/4 of one closet rather than 3 closets that are full to the brim. And a month later I don't even remember what I gave away. Just goes to show.


Babs said...

Sharon, it's

Thanks for your comments.

Babs said...

Ron, I can't think of another thing to say about Cool Whip.

AND, I"m not lifting that box!

Babs said...

Barbara, isn't it amazing? You've prompted me to write a blog post on how I got to this point!


Life's a Beach! said...

Maybe I can distract your readers by admitting I ate Velveeta melted with Rotel last week when my son was home. LOL

Babs said...

Beck, I KNEW we are "birds of a feather". I bring Velveeta back each trip since we can't get it here and cans of Rotel tomatoes, just in case someone wants to come over or we want to watch a football game.
With Super Bowl coming in Feb, I'm ready with the Rotel and Velveeta.
I use it to make mac and cheese too.
This should have many people rolling their eyes. But, who cares? Not I.

Calypso said...

Cool Whip and Velveeta - really sets off a health food person - yikes!

Life is short and I see nothing wrong with wanting to have a bunch of stuff - the Mexicans do not have all that stuff because they cannot afford it - nothing else.

I know some prosperous Mexicans that have just as much stuff as any U.S. consumer with equal or buying power.

I see nothing wrong with having stuff. I guess that I why I have four houses and several garages and storage rooms - but Cool Whip and Velveeta....

Babs said...

Calypso, I've often wondered if having four houses wasn't a whole lot of responsibility and work. I can't imagine at this point in life having those. But, that's what makes the world so fascinating. We can all do it our own way.
I also may eat Velveeta once or twice a year and haven't had Cool Whip in at least 15 years. It certainly set off a firestorm when that wasn't even the topic of the post. Life is interesting.

Calypso said...

I think it is a whole lot of work - we plan on divesting some real estate soon. As you suggest amiga, "life is interesting."

Ron B. said...

Love this post, and as someone considering a move to SMA I look forward to reading the book. But I would remiss if I didn't chime in on the Cool Whip topic. My take, however, is more nostalgic than anything else. You see, when I read about your search for Cool Whip I was immediately transported back to the 70's and my family reunions. My aunt made a Gelatin Poke Cake - a basic white cake with holes poked in the top and filled with liquid gelatin poured over it and topped with, you guessed it, Cool Whip. It was a pretty cake that became a staple at those annual gatherings. Thanks for sparking a fond but distant memory!

Babs said...

Ron B. I love your memory. We used to make what I call "poor man's ambrosia", where instead of some of the more expensive ingredients back then, we used cool whip. Lately I've seen many recipes using cool whip to cut down calories, I presume or maybe it is the consistency. I was so surprised at the reactions. I remember the "poke" cake and actually saw that recipe yesterday!